Last ditch bid to abolish executive presidency blamed on Ranil as SLFP throws its weight behind Gotabaya
Posted on September 20th, 2019

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island


After vehemently denying President Maithripala Sirisena had backed UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s last ditch attempt to abolish the executive presidency ahead of Nov. 16 presidential poll, the SLFP, yesterday, assured that it wouldn’t undermine SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The assurance was given by UPFA lawmaker Thilanga Sumathipala, who claimed that President Sirisena, in his capacity as the head of the cabinet called a special cabinet meeting on Thursday (19) to discuss abolition of the executive presidency, as requested by PM Wickremesinghe.

National List MP Sumathipala dealt with the contentious issue at the regular Friday media briefing at his Punchi Borella residence in the wake of accusations that President Sirisena facilitated Wickrekesinghe’s initiative.

Lawmaker Sumathipala indicated that President Sirisena couldn’t turn down the UNP leader’s request.

Responding to a query raised by a representative of the electronic media, MP Sumathipala said that President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa were still committed to Oct 26, 2018 understanding that prompted the former to quit the UNP led government.

When the journalist pointed out that both SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera and SLFP spokesman Weerakumara Dissanayake repeatedly warned of the possibility of President Sirisena seeking a second term in case talks with the SLPP failed to produce the desired results, MP Sumathipala insisted that their party would be committed to the victory of the SLPP candidate.

The assurance was given as SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam paid the deposit for SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Election Commission, Rajagiriya. Lawmaker Sumathipala recognized the SLPP as the main political power opposed to the UNP today.

Responding to a spate of questions regarding the controversy over President Sirisena making unsubstantiated allegations in respect of the Nelum Pokuna Tower against the backdrop of stalled SLPP-SLFP talks, MP Sumathipala expressed confidence they could work together. Sumathipala said that they remained essentially committed to Oct 26, 2018 understanding and were confident of working together.

Responding to another query regarding SLFP having a deal with SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, even though the Oct 26, 2018 consensus was with Mahinda Rajapaksa, lawmaker Sumathipala described the former President as the SLPP’s symbol. MP Sumathipala underscored the pivotal importance of Mahinda Rajapaksa in the process leading to an understanding between the two factions. The National List MP explained as to how the SLFP’s vote bank though diminished at the last Local Government poll could ensure Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s victory.

Lawmaker Sumathipala insisted that those still loyal to Maithripala Sirisena wouldn’t switch their allegiance to the UNP in the run up to the presidential election.

The SLFPer said so when another journalist asked him whether they realized the grave possibility of those still loyal to President Sirisena joining either the UNP or the SLPP. The query was raised against the backdrop of two loyalists, National List MPs, S.B. Dissanayake and Dilan Perera switching allegiance to the SLPP recently.

Lawmaker Sumathipala said that the SLFP didn’t care who received nomination from the UNP-led group as the party was committed to the victory of the largest grouping opposed to the ruling coalition.

S.B. Dissanayake, Dilan Perera and Thilanga Sumathipala were brought in to the parliament on the National List after the electorate rejected them at the last parliamentary election in 2015 August.

At the onset of the briefing, lawmaker Sumathipala explained as to why the SLFP wouldn’t support the abolition of the executive presidency under any circumstances. Referring to the sudden issuance of gazette notification regarding presidential poll on Nov 16, 2019, MP Sumathipala said that President Sirisena called a special cabinet meeting on Premier Wickremesinghe request. Therefore, Premier Wickremesinghe should take the responsibility for the consequences, the SLFP spokesman said.

Responding to another query, MP Sumathipala said that there hadn’t been discussions among them (SLFP members loyal to President Sirisena) regarding abolition of the executive presidency. The MP faulted the UNP leader for the controversial move in the wake of Election Commission setting the dates for payment of deposits, nominations and the election.

The SLFPer pointed out that Wickremesinghe skipped the electorate at both 2010 and 2015 presidential polls and was again engaged in a despicable political project. Instead of pursuing a national agenda, the UNP leader sought personal gain.

Lawmaker Sumathipala alleged that the abolition of the executive presidency could pose quite a threat to national security, democracy and stability. One-time Deputy Speaker Sumathipala pointed out that abolition of executive presidency could cause anarchy. SLFPer Sumathipala discussed the crisis experienced by the UK and Australia for want of stable governments. The UK had four Prime Ministers in four years whereas Australia six Premiers in five years.

MP Sumathipala alleged that the proposed abolition of the executive presidency to pave the way for election of presidency by the parliament could pose a serious threat to democracy. There was always the possibility of MPs being bought over by interested parties in a bid to influence the political authority, lawmaker Sumathipala pointed out, underscoring the danger in the Premier whoever in gaining powers once enjoyed by the president.

Abolition of the executive presidency could lead to division of the country on the ethnic lines, the MP warned. Lawmaker Sumathipala pointed out that the SLFP opposed the abolition of executive long before Zahran Hashim carried out the Easter Sunday attacks.

8 Responses to “Last ditch bid to abolish executive presidency blamed on Ranil as SLFP throws its weight behind Gotabaya”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    This is a JOKE!

    Chief Thief Ranil Ali-Baba Wikunanasinghe can’t abolish the Executive Presidency by himself, or even with the concurrence of 2/3 majority in Parliament (which he does not have), because such a major change is a Consitution Amendment that MUST BE APPROVED in a REFERENDUM by the Voters.

    So, there is some other ULTERIOR PURPOSE behind this OBVIOUS SCAM. Perhaps it is to DERAIL and POSTPONE the Presidential Elections until he can get the UNP leaders to BACK HIM and not Sajith!

    Whatever motivated this BOONDOGGLE by the Chief Thief, we can be sure that it is for his PRIVATE and PERSONAL PROFIT! He is NOTHING but a Devious Machiavellian CROOK trusted by NOBODY, not even his own UNP failthful!

  2. Dilrook Says:

    SLMC, ACMC and CWC were vehamantly against abolition of EP as they are kingmakers with it. Although TNA boasted about abolishing it, when it came to crunch time TNA too absconded for the same reason. Without presidential elections, all these racist parties are no bodies.

    There is wide support among Sinhalese to abolish EP. At least one candidate must contest with that promise and get those votes.

    The parliament cannot be dissolved until February 2020. The parliament can pass a resolution to abolish it from November 18 to February 2020.

    There is misleading news that Gotabaya’s nomination papers were handed in. This is untrue. He hasn’t. Only SLPP deposit was made. The candidate was not stated! Last minute switch to Chamal can still happen. If Gota contests and wins without revoking US citizenship, the UNP candidate automatically becomes president.


    Executive Presidency will NOT be abolished, in fact it will be further strengthened. Majority Sri Lankan voters will mandate it, not through Parliament, but via Referendum at the appropriate time.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Oh, COME ON Dilrook!

    You don’t really believe that ” “There is wide support among Sinhalese to abolish EP. At least one candidate must contest with that promise and get those votes.” do you? REALLY?

    ONLY Political HACKS in an UNSEEMLY HURRY to get a piece of power for themselves at the expense of the Nation, and view the Presidency as the PRINCIPAL BARRIER to gaining that power, want to eliminate the Executive Presidency!

    The PEOPLE at large, the SINHALA people in particular, WANT the Presidency, STRENGTHENED EVEN MORE!

    Again you say, “Last minute switch to Chamal can still happen. If Gota contests and wins without revoking US citizenship, the UNP candidate automatically becomes president.”

    Such a last minute switch would be an OUTRIGHT BETRAYAL of those who support the SLPP! Unlike the Chief Thief Ranil Baba who FRANTICALLY wants to ELIMINATE the Presidency at the last minute if he cannot get it, the leaders of the SLPP who have gone on record VOUCHING for Giota on every political platform and in meetings with their dedicated patriotic supporters, will not do ANY SUCH THING!


  5. Dilrook Says:


    Do an honest assessment of what happened to Sinhalese and Sri Lanka before 1977 and after 1977 with the EP. Which was better?

    This is a short list of what EPs reversed from patriotic achievements until 1977.

    1. Introduction of 13A – JR

    2. Continuation of 13A, making Tamil a national language, illegally introducing the national list – RP

    3. Continuing with 13A and Tamil national language, introducing 17A which further empowered minorities, allowed SLMC to bulldoze ancient Buddhist shrines, allowed CWC to interfere with TID operations, trying various tricks to introduce a devolution system beyond federal (regional, package and PTOMS). – CBK

    4. Continuing with all above, trying various tricks to go beyond 13A federalism (APRC, LLRC, 13 Plus, PTOMS), treating the LTTE leader (KP) to a VVIP, empowering TNA Vigneswaran and Najeeb, allowing Bathurdeen chop Wilpattu, handing over the ministry of justice to the SLMC leader, wasting 85% of borrowed funds in the north and east, re-emergence of deadly religious riots after 1915, Batticaloa campus of extremism, Islamic extremist groups, imprisoning war heroes, ACSA, releasing HSZs in the north to Tamils only – **

    5. Continuing with all above, co-sponsoring a UNHRC resolution against SL, OMP, terrorist attacks after 10 years, signing the cluster bomb treaty, ratifying Geneva protocols II. – MS

    As you can see EPs get worse with time. This is not their fault. They are desperately trying to appease minority voters to avoid another 2015.

    This is the sad predicament of SL – a nation destined for doom and gloom. This is not pessimism but realism.

  6. Randeniyage Says:

    Breaking News !

    6. Using all the Kunurahupa publicly and allowing it to be released to public making motherlanka a proud country in the world – MS

    One thing is wrong. “ allowing Bathurdeen chop Wilpattu

    Not true ! Chopping was done by the government ( not Bathurdeen’s ministry ). After chopping, handed over to him for Jassim City which was opened just before the EP election. Why ? because of EP needs minority votes.

  7. Randeniyage Says:

    War was over by 2009, not it is 2019. With so called “country saving EP” what has happened to real patrots who fought for the country ?

    Watch this ! 10 years and after two different EPs ( none of them UNP), these real war heroes are not sitting on back seats of BMWs. This is heartbreaking ! Both are EPs responsible for this crime ! What is the point of having powerful EPs who have no hearts ? Why build a NELUM KULUNA if there is no money to look after them well ?

    No doubt EP shall be abolished together with 13A.


  8. Dilrook Says:

    Now GR’s candidacy is in doubt as there are very serious allegations.

    After Naga, Sarath Weerasekera and Gota are the best presidents SL can have. But if none of them can become president, it is best to abolish executive presidency than have Chamal, Sajith, Karu or Ranil as EP. Mahinda will be the next PM anyway. Let him have all the powers of the head of state as with any country led by the PM. Abolish EP now.

    Please note that SLPP deposited money for an unnamed candidate. Gota is yet to sign nomination papers. As I predicted on August 12, the SLPP candidate will be Chamal. “Nangi pennala akkawa bandala denawa”.



    Gota’s Lanka citizenship in doubt, candidacy under cloud
    September 21, 2019, 8:07 pm

    Police have reported progress in their investigations into allegations Gotabaya Rajapaksa had failed to resume Sri Lankan citizenship he renounced in 2003 and raised serious doubts about his ability to stand at November’s presidential polls.

    The Criminal Investigations Department in a “B” report informed Colombo Chief magistrate Lanka Jayaratne of the outcome of a near six-week investigation into complaints that Rajapaksa had failed to obtain dual nationality in November 2005 as claimed by him.

    The contents of the B report were not immediately known, but police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera in a statement on Friday night confirmed that a progress report was filed with the Chief Magistrate informing her that there was sufficient evidence to proceed with the criminal probe.

    Two civil rights activists who made the initial complaints have noted that there was no secretary in charge of the subject of immigration when Rajapaksa claimed he had been issued with a dual citizenship certificate.

    Immigration department sources said the passport office had issued Rajapaksa with a new passport on May 7 after he produced a national identity card (NIC) which was different from the original NIC which he had at the time he obtained his first Sri Lankan passport.

    The activists have claimed that both the NIC and the new passport had been issued without following due process and the authorities should be held criminally liable. They want both documents declared null and void and action taken against those responsible for issuing these documents fraudulently.

    It is understood that criminal investigators were looking into three separate issues – the allegedly fraudulent dual citizenship, obtaining of a new NIC without surrendering the old one and violation of the immigration act to obtain a new passport.

    “It is a very, very serious matter,” an immigration official said asking not to be named. The official said they were also unable to trace some of the related files going back to a period from 2005 when Rajapaksa himself was the secretary to the ministry of defence.

    The defence ministry was responsible for both the passport and identity card offices.

    The latest development came even as questions were raised as to whether Rajapaksa had renounced his US nationality which he had obtained in 2003. A dual citizen cannot contest Sri Lankan presidential elections in line with the 19th amendment to the constitution .

    In November 2005, on the day his brother Mahinda was sworn in as President, he had applied for Sri Lankan (dual) citizenship.

    Within just one working day of applying for dual citizenship, he had been granted Sri Lankan nationality, but two days before a cabinet was appointed and three days before a ministry secretary could be appointed.

    “The allegation is that he did not obtain Sri Lankan citizenship through proper means.” The immigration official said. “Now we are told that he renounced his US nationality on May 3 and if the police findings are upheld, we have a situation where Mr. Rajapaksa is stateless.”

    Election Commission documents also showed that Rajapaksa was using an old NIC number which should have been invalidated at the time he obtained dual Sri Lankan nationality in November 2005.

    In a statement to the Daily Mirror newspaper on Saturday, Rajapaksa said he did not know how his old ID number appeared in the electoral register, something that has to be signed and certified by the chief occupant, in this case, Rajapaksa himself.

    “I filled the form stating the new ID number and mentioned the old ID number within brackets for reference purposes since the new ID number they issue bears a different form of numbering whereas the normal identity card number is derived from the birthday of the person,” Rajapaksa said in a statement to the Daily Mirror.

    ” Also once the new identity card number is given to a person the Department of Registration of Persons informs all relevant government departments about it. As such they have informed of this change to the Elections Department as well. But for some reason what appears in the electoral registers is the old ID number,” Rajapaksa said.

    However, there was no immediate comment from the independent Election Commission.

    An offence under Presidential Elections act of 1981 carries a penalty of losing civic rights for a period of seven years and is a disqualification to contest that election for seven years from the date of a conviction.

    The renouncing of his US citizenship has also yet to be published.

    The latest US Federal Registry, Sri Lanka’s equivalent of a government gazette, gave the names of 612 individuals who had successfully “expatriated” US citizenship between April 1 and June 30, 2019, the period during which Rajapaksa too purportedly gave up his US citizenship.

    “This listing contains the name of each individual losing United States citizenship within the meaning of section 877(a) or 877A with respect to whom the Secretary received information during the quarter ending June 30, 2019,” according to the federal notice which can be accessed here: (

    If Rajapaksa had submitted papers to renounce his US nationality on April 17 and was given a certificate to prove it on May 3, as he claimed in a statement to a national daily, his name should have appeared in the latest publication under normal circumstances.

    However, US diplomatic sources have said that the non-inclusion of Rajapaksa ’s name in the latest list may not be a sign that he had not renounced US citizenship as claimed, but what was more important was the certificate of renunciation.

    Rajapaksa is yet to formally release a copy of proof of his renunciation of US citizenship. Some certificates released on social media turned out to be fake.

    Rajapaksa still faces two civil court actions in the US.

    The two civil actions are for causing the death of editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and torturing a former Tamil Tiger suspect in custody when he was secretary to the ministry of defence and law and order. The cases are to be taken up for hearing later this month, but he has asked for a postponement.

    Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa anointed Gotabaya as the SLPP candidate on August 11 on the understanding that all his citizenship issues had been well and truly addressed and cleared without any doubt.

    National list test

    Political sources said president Mahinda Rajapaksa had also wanted President Maithripala Sirisena to nominate Gotabaya to parliament via a national list vacancy that exists after the death of an SLFP legislator, Salinda Dissanayake.

    However, political sources say that Sirisena was not receptive to the suggestion that could have rested Gotabaya’s citizenship issues once and for all and also given him more leverage as a member of parliament.

    If Gotabaya had been recognised by the Election Commission as a suitable candidate to fill a national list vacancy, that would have also removed any doubt about his suitability to be a candidate at the presidential poll.

    However, Gotabaya has been denied that opportunity as Rajapaksa-Sirisena talks failed, according to political sources on both sides.

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